I Have No Right to Be Depressed 

There’s this feeling I can’t shake that I just have no right to be depressed. I finally got pregnant. My first pregnancy (despite complications) went to term. My son was born healthy and came home after a normal hospital stay. My job offered 6 weeks of paid leave. I was able to extend that leave to 10 weeks, and when I started working again it was from home and I still got to see my baby during the day.

Other women would kill for any one of these situations. And yet, here I am, thoroughly depressed. And do you know what makes it worse? Knowing these things. Thinking about these things and saying “I have no reason to be depressed” only makes the feelings worse, because chemical imbalances don’t double check with you first. They don’t look around and go “Oh, wait, this person has a pretty good situation, I don’t belong here” and then move along. They stay and fester and leave you looking at your situation and thinking “what the fuck is wrong with me?”

This idea of having no reason to be depressed or anxious is something that gets mentioned a lot in our group, and is something I often hear expressed by fellow moms. Personally, I think it also stems from the idea that upon pregnancy and childbirth, our lives TRULY begin, and any feelings that contradict the idea of this moment as being the pinnacle of our existence are frowned upon. But the truth is, it’s incredibly common for women who have just given birth to not feel immediately connected to their babies (I didn’t). It’s not uncommon for this lack of connection to go on for months, even (mine did). And all the while that it’s happening, the mom is feeling awful for it because she’s been told her entire life that the moment she looks at that precious little miracle, her heart will grow three sizes that day and she will never have felt anything like it before, and will never feel anything like it again. That’s an awful lot of pressure to put on a single moment that, in reality, could go any infinite number of ways.

So when other moms say “I have no right to be depressed” I imagine an unspoken “because I had ‘THE MOMENT’ which was supposed to be the highlight of my entire life, so from here on out everything is supposed to be sunshine and rainbows, and me being depressed is spitting in the face of my great purpose and flipping the universe the bird.” I am definitely guilty of it. Go back and read the first paragraph of this entry; I couldn’t stop myself from explaining why I understand that I am not justified in feeling depressed.

This contradiction of having a good life and still being depressed is a huge hurdle for me. It wriggles deep inside me and gets at the very roots of who I am and how I interpret the world around me. It has gotten far worse since I developed PMAD and have been dealing with it, and I now sometimes have difficulty trusting myself or my own perceptions, which in turn lowers my sense of self worth (since my opinion is clearly skewed and therefore has no value).

I have tried several methods of handling this contradiction with varied levels of success (and definitely levels of failure). I can say what does not work, though. The common advice that most depressed people have heard: “have you tried not being depressed?”
It turns out that was the secret all along! Depression is like fairies, and it only exists if we BELIEVE in it, but if we ignore it and don’t believe, it will die! WE’RE ALL CURED.

Yes I’ve tried not being depressed. I’ve tried when I feel this way to say “no I don’t” and act like that’s true. I’ve also tried to tell myself that I am not someone with depression, I am someone who has to entertain depression every now and then like the annoying cousin who comes to live with you for the summer. Guess how these methods work out? Not well, because if you refuse to look at depression and you refuse to acknowledge it and do something about it, then it just learns to function without you looking at it, and on its own terms. It becomes a wild beast that can’t be reasoned with who rampages through your life like Godzilla in Tokyo (see previous entry about how my Black Friday went).

Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for how to deal with these feelings. It’s something I am still struggling with regularly, and something that I will probably continue to struggle with for as long as I keep refusing to give myself any slack and just let myself feel crummy without judgement once in a while.



Not Everyone Makes It Out Alive

I wanted to publish this post today in particular because tomorrow is PSI’s annual “Climb Out of the Darkness” walk. I am participating at a local park because I personally know how bad PMAD and PPD can be when left untreated, and I want to do what I can to help anyone in need know that there are resources available and that what they are feeling can be overcome.

This post comes with trigger warnings for depression, anxiety, and self-injury

As I’ve mentioned before, I have PCOS and a history of anxiety and depression. This combination makes for some inexplicable and intense mood swings, and at times in the past has resulted in me cutting and contemplating suicide. Sorry to get so real so early in this entry, but I’m very serious when I say that PMAD and other hormonal and mood disorders are not to be taken lightly.

It was these past experiences with mood swings, self-injury, and suicidal thoughts that made that little voice in my head warn me to watch out for PPD. The therapist I saw years ago told me that she herself had regularly suffered from depression, but it mostly went away when her children were born. She said that something about being in charge of these little people who weren’t able to care for themselves seemed to make everything that was getting her down seem insignificant.
So imagine how awful I felt when I had my own little helpless person to care for, and my depression seemed to be getting worse.

It was Black Friday and I had no explanation for it, but I woke up that day and I wanted to die. Thanksgiving itself had gone great – we had a good time visiting with family and we didn’t have any of the awkward disasters that so many other people unfortunately have. I think that might have made it worse – I always feel worse about my depression and suicidal thoughts when I can’t seem to find any explanation for them. When I’m not experiencing them, I feel confident saying “that’s because it’s a chemical imbalance in your brain and you can’t see or touch that, so it’s hard to identify,” but when I’m in it, I think “aren’t I just a result of all my chemistry? How can we identify one process as an ‘imbalance’ and not just as ‘how Aly works?’ Maybe Aly is just broken.”

That whole day I just couldn’t stop thinking about how much I was messing up being a mom and ruining my baby’s life by being in it. I felt so much like he would be better off without a broken mom who could barely function. I thought about how he would think of me if I did kill myself and he grew up without me. I thought he would probably resent me, and he would probably be angry that I had done something so selfish, but I wasn’t sure if it was worse to not be there for him, or being a burden to him his entire life – for which he’d still resent me. They really seemed comparable, and honestly, knowing that his father (a better person than me) would raise him without me dragging him down, I really thought that option sounded better.

My husband could tell at one point in the morning that I seemed down, so he asked me if I was ok, and I said yes and that I was just tired. Then I felt myself starting to break down, so I left the room and went across the house into my bathroom, closed the door, and sobbed in a heap on the floor.
I broke down several more times that day: in my kitchen, in my bed, and every time while I was sobbing and could hardly breathe, all I could think was how much I wanted to hurt myself.

Despite my depression coming and going almost constantly (but often only mildly), I had not wanted to self-harm in nearly 13 years. Yet on this day, the urge was as absolutely fresh and clear as if it had never left. I felt broken and terrible inside; I was sure I was ruining my entire family’s lives, and I wanted to punish myself for it. At least if I cut, anyone who saw it would know that I was paying for what I was doing to everyone around me.

At some point while battling the crushing depression and the self injury thoughts, my brain finally did what it usually does when I am at my worst and I detached entirely. I can’t tell you what happened the rest of that weekend, but I didn’t die (spoiler alert), and I didn’t find any cuts afterward.

Not everyone who suffers PMAD can say the same. Here is a story I came across the other day about a father whose wife lost her battle with PMAD.

I came across this story while leisurely scrolling through Facebook on a Saturday morning, and it struck me to my core. If the slightest thing had gone differently for me that day, this could be my husband’s story.

At group the following Monday, I told them how my weekend had gone and one of the facilitators said, “It’s so important to make it clear how serious these feelings are and how much they are disrupting your life. So many women going through this don’t tell anyone, or don’t find support, and it’s heartbreaking, but not everyone makes it out alive.”

I thought that my brain turning to suicidal and self-injury thoughts was just another way of coping with the stress – these thoughts had been my go-to in my last serious depressive episode, and in some twisted way that made them comfortable, or at least familiar. But after hearing my experience, another mom in the group admitted that she had actually attempted suicide only weeks before, and luckily her husband got to her in time to get her medical help.  Then, a number of other women in the room actually confessed that they had experienced thoughts for the first time since becoming a mom, but hadn’t acted on them. In a lot of instances, the feelings were as simple as thinking “my family would be better off without me.” For some that was interpreted as a suicidal thought, for others it was more an idea of getting in the car and driving far away, not telling anyone where she’d gone.

I wish I could say that after that weekend I never had the suicidal or self-injury thoughts again, but they’ve come and gone. I still haven’t acted on them as far as I can tell (breathing check – yep… still breathing), so I take that as a victory.

I  know this post was heavier than some of my previous, but again, I can’t stress enough how dangerous it can be to leave PMAD untreated, and anyone who thinks they’re “crazy” for having suicidal or self-harming thoughts (or even just the idea that your family is better off without you), you are absolutely not alone. Please reach out to friends, family, or even PSI and get help.

If you want to help others in need, please consider donating on my COTD page. 100% of donations go directly to PSI and they help support community outreach programs (like the support group that has helped me so much) for families in need.

Going Back To Work

In response to the fiasco with my disability leave, I was able to add all of my saved up vacation time to the end of my leave, and I was able to stay home for 10 weeks total. Also, “going back to work” was less of a transition for me than I imagine it is for most moms, because my supervisors had agreed to let me work from home. For me, “going back to work” meant “logging on to my work laptop and dedicating 40 hours a week to work.”

It was still torture. For the first time in 10 weeks, I had to put my body on a somewhat “normal” schedule, right after I had started to adjust to bursts of sleeping and waking with the baby. I had to get myself up at a reasonable time and start working while the baby was still asleep (hopefully), then I would have to pause for a bit when he woke up and take care of him until his sitter arrived (we hired someone to come to the house and care for him while I worked, but we couldn’t afford to have her more than 30 hours a week, and daycare prices were absolutely out of the question), then I had to work like mad while she was here, and once she left, I had the baby again and had to take another break until he napped again or my husband got home and I could work.

The good thing about this schedule was that it was relatively flexible, so when the baby had an awful night (which he still had many of – he was 10 weeks old) I could sleep in a little later, at least until the baby got up, but I would have to make that time up later in the evening. The bad thing about this schedule was that it extended my work days to far past 8 hours and left me even more drained and exhausted. I think back to this time period and wonder how I survived.

It still blows my mind that new parents are expected to return to society and function so shortly after bringing home a new baby. Yes, I’m having THAT conversation now. It really feels like these policies were written by people who never actually cared for a baby and have no idea what life is like with one.

The sleep deprivation alone is enough to drive you mad – literally. When used on prisoners for too long, sleep deprivation can violate the Geneva Convention, but when it comes to new moms, buck up! That baby’s plenty sturdy at 6 weeks old! Get back to your full-time work schedule! And that’s if you’re lucky enough to have a job that has any kind of paid maternity leave at all.

So, upon my starting working again, my depression and guilt increased severely. I was terribly depressed that my “just me and you” time with my baby was over, and the guilt of paying attention to something other than him for so many hours a day was absolutely crushing me. It continues to be a main source of anxiety for me as I feel I am always torn in two. I sit in my office in the morning working, and the monitor will flick on with a little coo or squeal from the crib, and my first thought is “Oh no, it’s too early, I have too much work to do!” and immediately I am struck through the heart with Mom Guilt. It actually happened once that I was standing in my home office holding my baby and crying because my phones were ringing and I had work to do, but he was fussy and wanted me, and I couldn’t stand the pressure from both being so insistent.

We tried getting me to go into the office a day a week to get away from the baby and see other adults, but ultimately it didn’t work out. I still could only go for a few hours while the sitter was here, because that was the whole point. I could not afford for her to be here enough hours for me to go into the office full time, so that fell through, as well.

Honestly, now I completely understand the coworkers who never seem to stop talking about their kids. It’s because, even though they’re at work, in their heads they’re counting down the minutes until they can leave and get home again and actually see their families. I’m already that coworker, and my baby is just in the other room!

Today is a Bad Day

So far, all of these entries have been written months after they initially happened. I have had time to reflect, and time to think about how to discuss what happened and how I felt. I have had lessons and pearls of wisdom to give at the end, but I don’t have that today.

I have good days and bad days, and lately I’d say I have more good days than bad. But today is a bad day, and I felt it was important to make an entry while I’m in the thick of it to document where my mind is at times like this.

As of June 1st, I stopped breastfeeding. My immediate instinct now is to go into my list of justifications as to why.

  • My son has not nursed since he was 6 months old. He just has no interest in it. I have been pumping exclusively since then. This week he will be 10 months old.
  • My PCOS makes my supply difficult to maintain (as the lactation consultant warned me in the hospital).
  • My breasts just hurt. Attempting to grow my supply to keep up with him through pumping alone has been excruciating and there just isn’t enough nipple balm in all the world.
  • I want my body back. If none of these other things were true, this wouldn’t be a factor and I’d keep breastfeeding through at least the first year (I really wanted to hit that one year mark). But in light of all of these other things, I just want to open my bra drawer and put on a cute bra with underwire that can be worn with a V-neck shirt.

The funny thing is, if another mom told me she was no longer breastfeeding, I wouldn’t need her to give me any reasons at all. I would say “Oh, ok.” and if she seemed upset by the decision, I’d say something like “you know what’s best for you and your baby, not me.” However, these things don’t seem to apply to myself. Other moms wouldn’t need to justify it to me, but I have all of my reasons at the ready for rapid explanation. I think other moms are the most qualified people to make these decisions about themselves and their babies, but who the fuck am I to know what’s going on with me? I think we’ve already determined time and again that my reasoning and mental processes can’t be trusted – you’re going to just let me make this decision?

To be fair, the morning that I stopped, I talked to my husband about it first. I wanted his input since it is his son, too, and I know he would ask me if things were reversed. He had known of my growing discomfort in the last few weeks and was absolutely fine with me stopping. We also had already been supplementing formula at night since my son was about 4 months old when we started sleep training because (to me) it was the most reliable way to know for sure that the baby was getting a big enough meal to sustain him through the night before we put him to bed (there’s me justifying myself again because maybe if you hear my reasons you’ll think I’m just a bad mom, not THE WORST mom).

So, I feel like my reasons justify my decision. However, I also feel like I don’t need all those reasons, and honestly a good enough one is “I don’t want to anymore.” So why did I tell my sitter that my doctor ordered it?
I said “I’ve stopped breastfeeding, so when we use up the supply in the freezer, he’ll just be on formula.” Then I saw a look on her face. If you ask me, it was instant judgement and condemnation. Could it have been? Yes. Was it? Probably not. For all I know she was thinking “I wonder where they keep the formula” or “what was the name of the guy who played that guy’s dad in that one movie?” or “Do I smell toast?” But of course in my head it was disapproval. So I hastily added “my doctor said I can’t anymore.”

Today I started washing and sanitizing my pumping supplies to pack into storage. At first I was just objective and disconnected from it, then I went to pack away the bottle warmer, and I broke. I’m not sure why that item made it so real, but suddenly I was standing in my kitchen bawling my eyes out and feeling like the worst mom in the world. “I gave up too easily. I am so selfish for doing this – I did it for me, not him.”

Once again, I am completely unable to be understanding or forgiving with myself. I wish I knew why that was.
Saturday night my breasts were full and sore and I was miserable, so I tried to pump out the last bit, but they wouldn’t give, so I spent the rest of the night in pain from it. Yesterday I pumped until I bled. Literally. I made myself bleed from pumping. If another mom told me she did that and followed it with “I’m so selfish, I gave up too easily.” I’d thinking “are you kidding me?!” But for some reason it’s not ok for me.

Like I said, I don’t have a great lesson with this entry or any wise words to leave you on. I’m just feeling crappy and wanted to capture it, and to show that, despite these entries mostly taking place months in the past, this is still something I am very much in the thick of and still fighting.


Other People’s Shit Doesn’t Stop

This is the best advice that I have ever been given as a new mother.

After bringing baby home, I quickly fell into the trap of building a little bubble around him and myself, and blocking out the rest of the world. This was actually reflected in my setup at my house – the baby slept in a co-sleeper bassinet attached to my bed, and it had pockets and pouches for all of the essentials. I have a master bathroom with a shower, and the baby’s swing with detachable bouncer seat was set up by the window. Aside from food, I never had to leave my bedroom. It was a perfect setup – except that it enabled my detachment and isolation coping mechanisms.

When my son was 8 weeks old, he got his first cold. His nose was all stuffy, so he couldn’t breathe, and since he couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t sleep, and since he couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t sleep, so we were both miserable. I was sitting in my bed with him in my lap, he was crying nonstop because he was sleepy and cranky and didn’t feel good, and I finally hit a breaking point.

I texted my mom asking if she happened to be able to come to my house and watch the baby while I took a nap. I knew it was a long shot – it was a weekday and my mother has a full-time job. But I reached out. Not surprisingly, she was not able to leave work to come. That was fine; I hadn’t put many eggs in that basket.
Then I thought of something and immediately regretted having asked. I know my mother (because she’s where I get this trait): I imagined her spending the rest of the day feeling bad that she wasn’t able to leave work and come help. Hoping to head off her guilt, I texted back something like “Ok, I’ll ask [my mother-in-law] if she can.” There, now she knows I have a back-up plan and maybe she won’t feel bad.

Then I got her response text: “Oh, ow.”
What the fuck? Help! Help! I broke the safety bubble! Abort! Abort!

I sat dumbfounded for a moment before realizing that she thought I was saying “Fine. Don’t help. I bet his OTHER grandmother will!” I sat in my bed, nearly delirious from sleep deprivation, with a sick, screaming 8-week-old in my lap and thought “Yes Mother, right now YOU are the one suffering the most.”

When I shared this story with my support group, one of the ladies who facilitates offered the greatest pearl of wisdom ever handed down through the ages: “Other people’s shit doesn’t stop.”

Just because I was in the early days of adapting to a major life-altering event, and was now experiencing a major hurdle, my mother didn’t stop having feelings, and text messages didn’t stop being misinterpreted.

The idea that EVERYTHING in the world was now different didn’t ripple out as far past my bubble as I thought it did. This experience with my mother was an extreme example of that, but it was all around me in much more subtle ways, too. For nearly every social interaction I had, my brain’s response was “I am in the middle of a MAJOR LIFE EVENT here! Can’t you see that?!” And some people did. Others who I may not ever really see, it’s just a few extra baby pictures in their Facebook feed. They scroll past them, and they move on with their day. Can you believe they are having a day without even pausing to look at my baby?! The bubble LIED to me!

Just to be clear, this was not a light switch realization for me; her words were not immediately stamped onto my personality and I never made this mistake again. I STILL make this mistake.

My best friend had her first baby when mine was 8 months old. I am VERY happy for her and incredibly excited, and I want SO much to be supportive and helpful in any way that I can. But you know what I really DON’T want to do? I don’t want to be that mom who can’t ever let anyone forget that SHE had a baby, too. When my friend says “my baby does the cutest things, the other day she…” I have to fight so hard not to say “my baby used to do that, too.”
Cool story, Aly, but this isn’t about you and your baby. This is about her experiencing all of this for the first time with her first child. There are times when it’s appropriate to bring up my baby as part of the response, and there are times when it should only be about whoever I’m talking to. Because sometimes it’s time for their shit.

Is it Everything You Dreamed it Would Be?

If you have ever asked this to a new mother and were not being sarcastic, fuck you.

What do you expect the answer to this question to be? It’s one of those “I’m not really asking, I just want you to tell me positive things” conversation traps. You expect the answer to be “yes,” and if it truly is, that’s wonderful. I’m very glad that mother is having a good experience. However, if the answer is “no,” are you actually going to listen to us and try to offer any REAL help, or are you going to then offer such sagely words like “they’re only babies for a short time” or “it goes by so quickly!” Those tidbits just then activate my Mom Guilt and make me feel bad for not being adoringly grateful for every blessed, painful, sleep deprived, torturous moment. I’m a terrible mom!

While I’m on the subject, here are a few more questions/conversations that are off limits:

  • Is the baby sleeping through the night?
    No. None of them are. They take months to do that, on average.
  • Are you breastfeeding?
    This topic is way too much of a hot button – moms who are bottle feeding for ANY reason (and it is not your job to decide what a “good reason” is) are often made to feel like lesser moms for it, and despite what anyone says, it doesn’t just happen if you “try hard enough.” That’s SO insulting to anyone who has ever struggled with it.
  • Just sleep when the baby sleeps!
    I do whenever I can. I am still a human zombie, because even if I am asleep for every single moment that my baby is asleep (which I’m not), it’s still a huge adjustment to sleep in short bursts. I am still suffering sleep deprivation, and my brain is still pudding.
  • “My baby never ____” or “I never used/had to____” (pacifiers, co-sleeping, etc)
    Congratu-fucking-lations. Do you want a trophy?

Because of all the fantasy and expectations around how you’re “supposed” to feel as a new parent, being a mom with PMAD feels very taboo. We’re told by everything around us that, as mothers, our world is supposed to be swallowed by an all-consuming and singular love for this tiny being from the moment we give birth (or sooner). The problem is, it doesn’t always happen that way, and admitting that often results in people assuming you’re a bad parent, assuming you don’t love your baby, or it just plain bums people out and they aren’t interested in hearing about it.

For me personally, I am not sure how much of this “instant unshakable bond” I felt when my son was born. It’s a weird thing to think about. I think that when I was pregnant, I felt it. I know that the news of the IUGR and the thought that something definitive could go wrong and I could lose him was horrifying. However, I think after trying so long to get pregnant, then finding out we had a complication, part of my brain didn’t want to get my hopes up that things were going to be ok, so his birth and good health were almost a shock.
I know during the early days, I was happy to have my son, but I am not sure that I had that all-consuming bond. I knew he was mine, I felt responsible for caring for him, I was pretty sure I loved him, and I responded to his needs (not just food, sleep, and diapers, we did a lot of skin-to-skin and cuddles), but it almost felt like something I was “supposed to do,” and not so much “what my whole life has been leading to.”
I had just started getting over these feelings and developing a real, loving, maternal bond when my Short Term Disability letter showed up and my brain slammed on the brakes with the bonding.

Because of this, Going to a New Mothers support group was awesome. All of the fantasy land, “is it everything you dreamed it would be” bullshit is left at the door.
I think it’s important to note that this was not a typical mom group that is just meant to get moms and babies together – this was a support group for new mothers who were experiencing PMAD symptoms and is facilitated by two therapists with years of knowledge and experience treating it.

Right from the start of a meeting, we would go around the room giving a rundown of our names, how many children we had/how old, and our top 3-ish worst symptoms. Immediately from the start of the meeting, we all understood that we were there because the sunshine and rainbows weren’t shining like they “should” and, more importantly, we weren’t the only one experiencing that.

Everything Goes to Hell

Within the first few days of giving birth I had the typical “Baby Blues,” but being a veteran of depression and anxiety, I could feel that they were different than I was used to, and did not worry too much about them.
Then, when my son was 3 weeks old, I received my Short Term Disability letter in the mail which included the end date of my leave. The entire time that I had been working with my company’s HR department, I was under the impression that my leave would be 12 weeks. Our benefit booklet says “up to 12 weeks” and the company is very family-centered and offers a lot of employee perks, so this did not seem unreasonable. It turns out, this was a big misunderstanding and I was so, so wrong. When I got this letter in the mail, I found out that my leave was only 6 weeks long, and 3 of them were already gone. Something in me snapped.
“It’s supposed to be 12 weeks! What is going on here? But my baby was 3 weeks early… don’t I get a little longer so he can catch up? My time is already half over!”
If you have anxiety, you probably know just how devastating an unexpected change like this can be and can imagine how quickly I escalated to inconsolable. If you don’t, just assume it was “life shattering” on the devastation scale and “omg so fast.”
I started hyperventilating and crying (which are a bad combination), and I tried to call my husband, but my hands were too numb to use my phone (my hands get numb during panic attacks).  I had to wait a few minutes before I could call him, and those minutes were awful as my mind immediately spun out of control with shock, anger, helplessness, and panic.
From this moment, all of my old (bad) coping mechanisms kicked in. The worst of which was distancing and avoidance. I shut down all of the emotional parts of myself so I wouldn’t feel the anxiety, and I wouldn’t feel the dread, but worst of all, so I wouldn’t feel so attached to my baby that I couldn’t leave him when I had to go back to work (because work is so important… but not this small human I made who is 100% dependent on me for survival). I had not been sleeping well since the day the doctor told me about the IUGR, but once I got that Disability letter in the mail, I almost stopped sleeping entirely. Even when my baby was sleeping, I’d lie awake just staring at him thinking “soak up every possible moment that you can. It will be over soon.” The rest of my leave was spent trying to enjoy the time with my baby, but not so much so that I couldn’t give it up when I had to go back to work. Every moment that I enjoyed was punctuated by the thought: “remember, this all ends soon.”
I went to my OB to tell him what was happening, and honestly, hoping he would recommend that my disability leave be lengthened. He didn’t get the hint (and I didn’t out right ask for it, but I really, really should have), but he did recommend me to a local support group for new mothers who were having similar issues. I hadn’t been in a support group since elementary school (the school guidance counselor ran a group for children of divorce. It was call the “Banana Splits,” get it?!) but I’d been in therapy once since then, so I was willing to give it a try. Also, the support group was free… all I had to do was get myself and a 3 week old infant out of the house and to a planned destination 30 minutes away by a specified time. No biggie, right?